WADA update regarding testing of Chinese athletes in light of coronavirus

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirms that the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) will resume testing this week following a temporary suspension, initiated on 3 February, of its testing program on mainland China due to the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

WADA, the global regulator of anti-doping, has been closely monitoring the situation and has remained in regular contact with CHINADA throughout in order to maintain the integrity of the anti-doping program in China. To that end, CHINADA has advised that it will resume testing missions within China this week, on a phased basis. Priority will be given to testing elite level athletes from higher-risk categories and sports.

The safety of athletes and sample collection personnel involved in the doping control process within China is the key priority. This needs to be balanced with the importance of ensuring that Chinese athletes remain subject to a rigorous testing program for the duration of the coronavirus situation.

CHINADA has implemented a supplementary set of doping control guidelines to be followed during this period. These additional guidelines for CHINADA’s Doping Control Officers are designed as a precaution, to minimize the risk of infection. CHINADA will gradually expand the testing scope based on the progress of China's epidemic prevention and control while also monitoring the whereabouts of Chinese athletes to maintain the integrity of the doping control system.

While testing on mainland China was temporarily suspended, it should be noted that CHINADA continued to plan and conduct testing on Chinese athletes training and competing outside of China. In January 2020, CHINADA conducted more than 1,200 tests, including 114 urine samples and 80 blood samples from Chinese athletes training abroad. A further 165 urine samples and 113 blood samples are planned to be collected in February across seven countries and nine Olympic sports.

CHINADA will shortly make contact with those Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) that have the right to collect samples from Chinese athletes in China and, under this strict protocol, is willing to accept missions from those organizations, in addition to those organized by CHINADA under its own program. 

To supplement CHINADA’s testing outside China, WADA has written to all International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations calling on them to further support this effort in relation to testing Chinese athletes competing or training outside of China, as is their right under the World Anti-Doping Code.

The anti-doping system allows for cooperation between ADOs – including National Anti-Doping Organizations, International Federations, Major Event Organizations etc. – to ensure that the integrity of the program is upheld and that athletes are still being properly tested.